Health Care Professionals: Do You Know Your Misconduct Reporting Obligations?

healthcare_erhinehartDr. Death, The Shrink Next Door, social media influencers suing their plastic surgeons for bad behavior ⸺ physician misconduct is a hot topic right now. But misconduct reporting obligations are not new. Ohio has long required various health and wellness professionals (and the entities employing them) to report misconduct. While specific reporting obligations vary by profession, the laws governing mandatory reporting of misconduct are gaining more attention by the licensure governing boards, patients, and lawyers ⸺ perhaps because of the recent influx of media scrutiny and public awareness.

Regardless the reason, it is as good a time as any for a refresher. Licensees, health care facilities, and hospitals are required under Ohio law to report various types of professional misconduct, including sexual misconduct, impairment, practice below the minimum standards of care, and improper prescribing and/or distributing of controlled substances. Often, discipline or termination without reporting may be insufficient for employers to comply with these laws. Failure to report can result in monetary fines and disciplinary action. Therefore, policies and practices (e.g., disclosure forms; contact sheets; checklists; knowledge of confidentiality and immunity protections; and training) should be adopted (and updated regularly) to ensure consistent, timely compliance.

To that end, the following chart summarizes some of Ohio’s health care misconduct reporting laws; and (hopefully) offers a friendly reminder to double-check your reporting obligations and manage any gaps in related policies or procedures.




(e.g., MD, DO, DPM, PA, genetic counselor, anesthesiologist/radiologist assistants, respiratory care professional, dietician, cosmetic therapist, massage therapist)

RC 4731.224

RC 4731.15

entity must report imposition of “formal disciplinary action” (defined in statute) within 60 days (A)

licensee must report when s/he “believes” another licensee violated specified laws, rules of the Ohio State Medical Board, or professional association/society (B)(1)

●reports are confidential and not subject to discovery or introduction in evidence in state or federal court (F)

●MDs, DOs, and DPMs are also required to complete one hour of Continuing Medical Education (CME) on the duty to report; additional information from The State Medical Board of Ohio relating to this CME requirement can be found here.

(e.g., RN, LPN, dialysis tech, medical aid, APN, certified community health workers)

RC 4723.34

employer or contractor must report any licensee who is a “current or former employee or person providing services under a contract” who engaged in activity that “would be grounds for disciplinary action” by Ohio Board of Nursing (A)


OAC 4715-5-06

licensee must report “any untoward event requiring hospital admission or any mortality which occurred as a direct result of treatment in an out-patient dental facility” within 72 hours (A)


OAC 4729:1-4-02


licensee must report any violation of conduct set forth in subsection (C) that the licensee directly observes or of which s/he has “objective evidence” (B)

●subsection (C) includes addiction or abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other chemical substances; physical/mental impairment that renders licensee “unfit to carry out their professional duties”; violation of rules established by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy; or “unprofessional conduct or dishonesty” (e.g., coercion, intimidation, harassment, sexual harassment, improper use of private health information, threats, degradation of character, indecent or obscene conduct, theft OAC 4729:1-4-01(A)(2))

licensee must also self-report certain activities (F), (G)

●reports are confidential (D)


OAC 4732-17-01

licensee must report any “apparent violation,” based on a “substantial reason to believe,” of the statutes or rules of the Ohio Board of Psychology that “substantially harm[s] or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization” (J)(4)

Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers

OAC 4757-5-10

licensee must report (1) any “alleged violations” of the statutes or rules of the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board; and (2) where licensee has “knowledge or reason to suspect,” another licensee is acting in an “unethical way or is incompetent or impaired” (A)

Physical Therapists

OAC 4755-27-05

licensees must report (1) any “organization or entity . . . that places the license holder in a position of compromise with this code of ethical conduct”; and (2) “any unprofessional, incompetent, or illegal behavior” of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, of which licensee “has knowledge” (B)(10)

Reporting Elder Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation

RC 5101.63

licensees and other individuals must “immediately” report to the county department of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services any abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult where there is “reasonable cause to believe” such misconduct has taken place (A)(1)

●licensees and other individuals include attorneys, physicians, chiropractors, dentists, RNs, LPNs, psychologists, therapists, pharmacists, dialysis technicians, home health agency employees, hospital employees, firefighters, first responders, and financial planners (A)(2)(a)-(ff)

About The Author

Erin Rhinehart | Faruki Co-Managing Partner